John McDonald Rumors

NL Central Notes: Figgins, Cedeno, Wainwright, Bucs

Some news from around the NL Central…

  • The Cubs haven't been in contact with Chone Figgins, ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers reports.  Figgins was released by the Marlins earlier this week and, as Rogers notes, is one of the few veteran options available if the Cubs want to bring in a third baseman.
  • Ronny Cedeno has cleared waivers after being released by the Cardinals three days ago, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (via Twitter).
  • Chris Cwik of CBSSports.com analyzes the cost of an Adam Wainwright extension with the Cardinals and figures Wainwright will end up being paid between $21-$23.5MM per season.  Talks are ongoing between Wainwright and the Cards and the ace right-hander feels positive that an extension will be settled before Opening Day.  Wainwright is eligible for free agency after this season.
  • Jonathan Sanchez can opt out of his minor league deal with the Pirates on Sunday if he hasn't been added to the club's Major League roster, but the Bucs have until Tuesday to respond, MLB.com's Tom Singer reports.  Sanchez's one-year contract will guarantee him $1.375MM if he makes the roster.
  • Also from Singer, he opines that the Pirates' trade for John McDonald is the kind of veteran acquisition a team makes when it believes it will contend.  Otherwise, Singer wonders why Pittsburgh would add McDonald to an already-deep middle infield mix.

Pirates Acquire John McDonald

1:03pm: The teams announced the trade, which sends McDonald to the Pirates for a player to be named or cash considerations.

11:19am: The Pirates acquired infielder John McDonald from the Diamondbacks, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). The Diamondbacks will obtain a player to be named later in the deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Rosenthal reported eight days ago that the Diamondbacks were looking to trade McDonald.

McDonald appeared in 70 games as a shortstop, second baseman and third baseman last year, posting a .249/.295/.386 batting line with six home runs. The 14-year veteran has a reputation as an excellent defender, and UZR suggests that McDonald's play has remained solid in recent years.

McDonald, 38, is now entering the second season of a two-year, $3MM contract. He'll earn $1.5MM in 2013 then become a free agent. He joins a Pirates infield that includes starters Neil Walker, Clint Barmes and Pedro Alvarez. Utility player Josh Harrison backed up up Barmes in 2012 and projects as a bench player again in 2013.


Diamondbacks Looking To Trade John McDonald

The Diamondbacks are looking to trade shortstop John McDonald, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). There's no room for McDonald in Arizona if infielders Willie Bloomquist and Cliff Pennington are healthy, Rosenthal writes.

McDonald appeared in 70 games as a shortstop, second baseman and third baseman last year, posting a .249/.295/.386 batting line with six home runs. The 14-year veteran has a reputation as an excellent defender, and UZR suggests that McDonald's play has remained solid in recent years.

McDonald, 38, is now entering the second season of a two-year, $3MM contract. He'll earn $1.5MM in 2013 then become a free agent. The Cardinals recently lost Rafael Furcal to Tommy John surgery and could consider a player such as McDonald. However, St. Louis has internal options in Pete Kozma and Ronny Cedeno.



NL Rumors: Padres, Nats, Marlins, D-Backs, Mets

A few of the latest updates from Nashville relating to National League clubs:

  • The Padres figure to be seeking just one more starting pitcher, says MLB.com's Corey Brock (via Twitter).
  • Although the Nationals' starting rotation is set, the team may still look to add pitching depth, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
  • Before Eric Chavez agreed to terms with the Diamondbacks, he had spoken to the White Sox, while Jeff Keppinger, who signed with the Sox, was coveted by the Marlins, says Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (Twitter links).
  • The signing of Chavez gives the D-Backs one too many infield bench options, and a team source says someone is likely to be traded, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (via Twitter). Piecoro names John McDonald as the possible odd man out.
  • The Mets may leave Nashville having only finalized the David Wright extension, says Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. One Mets official tells Rubin that teams are asking for Zack Wheeler in virtually every trade proposal, even for platoon-type catchers, which isn't happening (Twitter links).

AL East Notes: Shields, Burnett, Ortiz, Blue Jays

As the Orioles continue to look for a new general manager, let's see what's happening elsewhere in the American League East…

  • The Rays "seem dead-set against trading James Shields," according to CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler (Twitter link).  Knobler said Tampa Bay might be more inclined to deal Jeremy Hellickson than Shields, though he notes it's "very unlikely" that either pitcher is traded.  The Rays exercised Shields' $7.5MM option for 2012 on Monday.
  • Brian Cashman said the Yankees aren't looking to deal A.J. Burnett, reports Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.  Cashman said yesterday that "if [Burnett] is with us, he’s in the rotation," but said today that he made "a bad choice of words."
  • David Ortiz tells WEEI.com's Rob Bradford that the Red Sox didn't make him an offer during the team's five-day exclusive negotiating window with the free agent slugger.  While no offer was made, GM Ben Cherington has spoken to Ortiz's representatives since the season ended.
  • In a conference call with reporters (including MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm), Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos said the team wasn't able to counter John McDonald's new two-year contract with the D'Backs due to the Jays' unclear situation at second base and with the utility spot.  McDonald, a long-time fan favorite in Toronto, was expected to rejoin the Jays after being traded to Arizona last summer, but Anthopoulos said there were no hard feelings about McDonald's decision.
  • Anthopoulos noted that the Jays staff gave Tony LaCava a standing ovation when the assistant GM returned to work yesterday.  LaCava turned down the Orioles' offer of their general manager's position in order to stay in Toronto.
  • If the Yankees re-sign Freddy Garcia, Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York thinks Brian Cashman may "call it a winter" in regards to acquiring starting pitching.

D’Backs To Sign McDonald To Two-Year Deal

The Diamondbacks announced that they've agreed to terms with defensive specialist John McDonald on a two-year deal. Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com says the deal is worth $1.5MM per season (on Twitter). McDonald provides the Diamondbacks with insurance for Stephen Drew, who missed much of 2011 with a fractured ankle. 

McDonald joined the D'Backs along with Aaron Hill in the August trade that sent Kelly Johnson to Toronto. The 37-year-old didn't do much at the plate this past season, hitting .229/.269/.308, but he's known as a defensively skilled player at second, short and third. SFX represents McDonald, as our Agency Database shows.


Blue Jays President Beeston On Darvish, Lee, Payroll

Blue Jays president Paul Beeston sat down with Richard Griffin of the the Toronto Star to talk about the state of the club, free agents coming north of the border, and even his own contract.  Here are some highlights..

  • Beeston was reluctant to tip his cap on whether or not the Blue Jays will make a run at Yu Darvish, but he did say that "I think those people at Rogers who never heard of him before, now know this player is in existence."  Despite that, he has yet to inform ownership that he is ready to spend extra payroll dollars.
  • Beeston said that he's happy for the ex-Jays that made it to the postseason this year with other clubs.  Ultimately, he says that there's no way of knowing if the Blue Jays would have made it to the playoffs if they still had players such as Roy Halladay, Shaun Marcum, John McDonald, and Aaron Hill in the fold. 
  • When discussing Hill, Beeston said, "I think that [General Manager] Alex [Anthopoulos] had determined that he wanted to make a move with Aaron."  Toronto shipped Hill and McDonald to the Diamondbacks for Kelly Johnson in an August trade.
  • Halladay "made it quite clear" that he was not going to re-sign with the Blue Jays after the 2010 season.
  • The Blue Jays didn't make a serious run at Cliff Lee in free agency last year and Beeston believes that doing so would have been a "waste of time".
  • Even though the senior people at Rogers aren't baseball fans, Beeston still keeps them informed of major decisions.  For example, Beeston discussed the Halladay trade with management before pulling the trigger.   Beeston says that Rogers has yet to interfere with or object to a front office decision.
  • At a fan get-together in February, Beeston said that the club could possibly spend up to $120MM on payroll.  Beeston clarified those comments and says that the $120MM figure is in reference to salaries on the 40-man roster and not including draft bonuses and international free agency. 
  • That uptick in payroll could happen this year or next year.  Beeston plans on adding a big piece at the right time for the right price.  He later added that the team first has to show that they can contend before they can land the premier free agents on the open market.
  • The Blue Jays have built up the farm system and they're reassured of their talent by the amount of inquiries they get from other teams.  The Colby Rasmus trade showed that the club could afford to trade several attractive pieces without mortgaging their future.
  • Rumors of Beeston re-upping his contract through 2015 are not true.  In fact, he says that he hasn't talked to anyone about an extension of his current deal.
  • Beeston said that he sees an opening in the AL East because of the uncertainty in Boston, aging stars in New York, and limited capital in Tampa Bay.
  • Even though attendance in down in Toronto, revenue continues to grow for the organization.  The belief is that the pace will pick up once the team is contending again.

Quick Hits: Brewers, August Winners, Free Agents

Twins minor leaguer Kyle Gibson, the No. 22 overall draft pick in 2009, will undergo Tommy John surgery, per Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com. Best wishes to Gibson on making a full recovery and perhaps debuting in the Majors late in 2012.

Here are a few other items of note on this Thursday afternoon:

  • The Brewers were interested in acquiring lefty reliever Mike Gonzalez from the Orioles before Baltimore dealt him to Texas, writes Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. “We had the irons in the fire,” Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin said. The Brew Crew remains without a southpaw in their bullpen.
  • The Diamondbacks were among the five winners of August's post-deadline trade period, opines Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com. Arizona shored up its infield by acquiring infielders John McDonald and Aaron Hill from Toronto in exchange for Kelly Johnson. Morosi's other winners: The Rangers, Tigers, Braves and Indians.
  • Impending free agents, however established they may be, should still be scouted dilligently, writes Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required). For example, though some of us may take it for granted that Albert Pujols' fractured wrist is fully healed, scouts from interested teams will be watching all of his final at-bats for even the slightest change in his swing or approach. After all, Bowden explains, with tens, and sometimes hundreds, of millions of dollars at stake, every bit of info helps.

D’Backs Wanted Defense, Infield Depth

Talk of draft pick compensation, club options and future salaries is valid after any trade, including the one the Diamondbacks just made with the Blue Jays. But the D’Backs didn’t make this move with an eye on future seasons or drafts. 

Kelly Johnson

“This deal was really made with a focus on ‘how do we get better for the next five weeks and stay ahead of the Giants’,” GM Kevin Towers explained this evening on a conference call with reporters.

Ever since Stephen Drew’s season ended, the D’Backs have been short-handed up the middle. They wanted to rely on Willie Bloomquist less, so Towers and the Blue Jays discussed Aaron Hill, someone the D’Backs have been eyeing for a while. The second baseman isn’t having much of a season at the plate, but Towers says his power could return against National League pitching. 

“We’re hoping that a change of scenery can not only spark our club, but spark these two guys,” Towers said, referring to Hill and John McDonald

Even if Chase Field doesn’t coax extra base power out of Hill, who has a 36-homer season to his name, Towers won’t mind. The deal, which included the versatile McDonald, was about defense. Though Towers didn't express disappointment in Kelly Johnson’s defense, he did say he's looking forward to adding the pair of former Blue Jays to his infield.

Hill has two $8MM team options for 2012-13, yet they aren't a major consideration for the D'Backs at this point at this point. It was “doubtful” that Johnson (pictured) would have returned after 2012, according to Towers, so the D’Backs were willing to part with him for Hill, regardless of whether Hill returns to Arizona in 2012. 

That Hill and McDonald strike out less than Johnson (132 Ks this year) is a bonus for Towers, who has been looking to reduce Arizona’s strikeout totals since last year. Plus, they’re two “great guys” who drew personal praise from Diamondbacks people and others in baseball. 

For the two nice guys to finish first, the D’Backs will have to maintain their current one-game lead over the defending World Champion Giants. Arizona could even obtain more help this month, since Towers may not be done dealing yet. 

“We’ll keep working the phone lines until the end,” he said.

Photo courtesy Icon SMI.


AL East Notes: Blue Jays, Red Sox, Darvish

The Blue Jays completed a trade with the Diamondbacks today, sending Aaron Hill and John McDonald to Arizona for Kelly Johnson. Here's the latest news from the AL East, starting with a note on today's trade…

  • Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio that Hill and McDonald cleared waivers earlier in the month (Twitter link). The deal started when Arizona GM Kevin Towers called about McDonald.
  • Anthopoulos says he acquired Johnson from the D'Backs to get an up-close look at him before deciding how aggressively to pursue him this offseason when he hits free agency, according to Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi.
  • Alex Speier of WEEI.com takes us inside Boston's front office in a must-read look at how the Red Sox approached the signing deadline. “Between 11:50 and 12 it was straight chaos,” one person told Speier. “Five people were on the phone at the same time with five different agents negotiating five different deals.”
  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post explains that MLB teams, even rich ones like the Yankees, have to develop their own starting pitching, since the few elite starters who do reach free agency are prohibitively expensive.
  • The Yankees have scouted Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish heavily, according to Sherman. Darvish, 25, "is coming" to the Major Leagues this offseason, according to one of Sherman's sources.